Tips for designing the best exhibition stands for trade shows

1st December 2017

How to capture sales and leads at trade fairs and exhibitions

Trade shows are big business, and in the UK alone they are responsible for generating £11bn in revenue. With over 40,000 businesses exhibiting at trade shows, that means you will be up against considerable competition. Don’t be misled by that statement, if you have a unique product or service you want to promote, competition at trade shows is more about making sure that your display stands out against other displays rather than relying on having the best products.

Trade show statistics

Visitors to a trade show or trade fair will spend an average of five hours there, and after only a short space of time they will become visually saturated, reaching a stage of virtual information overload. As a consequence, how a trade stand is set out and how vital information is presented becomes critical. A recent survey of the most effective means of attracting visitors to a trade stand proved to be very revealing. While giveaways at the event, or a strong social media campaign prior to the event proved to be relatively successful, by far the most effective means of attracting visitors to stands is an eye-catching display. Below is the result of the survey with the percentages representing the relative success of one or more methods used to attract visitors:

  • 48% – Eye-catching display
  • 34% – Give-aways
  • 31% – Social Media
  • 23% – Competitions
  • 19% – Exclusive offers
  • 11% – Games

Conclusion - the design of your exhibition stand is critical to success

You can effectively combine an eye-catching display with a competition, giveaway, or special offer, you just have to ensure that passing customers notice you to begin with.

Once you have the attention of passing ‘traffic’, that is when your display stand really has to start working for you, and that is why careful forethought in the planning of the display, its layout and function comes to the fore. Your display stand is more than just an advertisement, a beacon, a means to attract potential customers and let them know you exist.

The basics of a good display stand

At the risk of sounding unoriginal, first impressions are critical. The display stand has to be carefully organised, and we are not just talking about the displays. The positioning of desks, chairs, storage facilities, power point, cables, printers, computers or laptops have to be carefully calculated. You want all cables to be discrete if not completely hidden. Your office probably looks immaculate in order to convey a professional image, your display stand should do exactly the same.

Make sure all your messaging is visible

At the Entwistle Group, we aren’t just printers, we are graphic designers. However, we also have a practical understanding of how display stands work. That is why, at the onset of creating the artwork for a display stand, the first design element to be established has to be the layout of furniture and fixtures. Why? Because the last thing you want to happen is for any element of a corporate message, or any vital information, to get hidden behind furniture, merchandising material or products, where nobody can clearly see it. Less experienced graphic designers might try re-working the front page of a brochure or poster believing they have a whole canvas to fill without realizing that the bottom 1500mm is normally obscured by desks and other furniture.

Flow and direction

There’s nothing worse than a display stand where flow of people is hindered either through a poor layout and badly placed furniture, or the need for people entering to have to squeeze past those who are leaving. Careful design of graphics as well as strategic placement of fixtures can make a huge difference to flow.

Capturing visitor data

Don’t rely on visitors to call you after the exhibition as most will be leaving with bags full of printed information from other exhibitors - most will be overlooked. Scanners which read visitors badges can collect a name and basic data, but it is hardly interactive, nor are scanners cheap to hire, while seldom is any Wi-Fi connection reliable. If you talk to us at the Entwistle Group in advance of the event, our experience will tell you that keeping it simple is the best way to go when gathering vital data, and we can create attractive and effective lead cards that have a few simple tick boxes, which can provide you all the information you need for initial follow-up contact, and take only seconds to complete.

We do embrace the benefits of the Internet though, and we have devised an engaging and effective tablet system whereby with its use for registration,   

Making a display is one thing, setting it up and storing is another

Needs may vary from wanting, or needing a display stand that is easy to assemble, and which can be done by a member of your own staff. In such cases, we recommend rolled graphics which are durable, but easy to transport and quick to set up. They can be applied to a fabric shell scheme designed and produced for you and which will help to hide cables. Through the use of heavy-duty polyester materials, images will still look flat and design need not be compromised.

For larger stands we recommend solid display panels. These require someone experienced to set them up and a large van is required for transporting them.  We can organize this for you.

We are here to help

If you are going to exhibit at a trade fair to launch a new product or service, or to promote existing ones, get in touch with us first here at the Entwistle Group. Very swiftly you will discover that we have a considerable knowledge base gained from creating display stands for many, many clients. We will happily discuss ideas you may not have considered, and leave you with a solid proposal on how we can create something eye-catching and effective which, through additional leads it will help to generate, should more than comfortably pay for itself.


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